Bud Light, Pepsi, Google Won Viewers’ Attention at the World Cup

No one reached more than Volkswagen

The 2018 world cup may not have featured an American team but it broke streaming records and still generated advertisers 6.04 billion TV ad impressions on 8,576 ad airings across six networks. And that’s just for new episodes only in the U.S.

While we all know France walked away the cup victor, the World Cup had a different set of winners.

Topline Trends from iSpot.tv research:

  • The viewership skewed young: 29% were under the age of 34
  • 60% of the audience was male
  • Volkswagen was the top overall spender on TV ads (English and Spanish)
  • Sprint was a leading advertiser in Spanish-speaking programming
  • France vs. Croatia outperformed all other broadcasts by measure of attention
  • Beer brands, Streaming Services and Soft Drinks performed particularly well during the World Cup by measure of ad attention
  • Bud Light had the ad least likely to be interrupted

Most Seen (TV Impression) Leaders

By far and away, Volkswagen was the most seen advertiser of the World Cup with 729.3 million impressions, or 10.46% of overall.  Viewers couldn’t escape this ad, “Jump on the Wagen,” which ran 122 times during the tournament.

Also among the impressions leaders:
Verizon, with 520.8 million impressions, or 7.47% of overall.
McDonald’s, with 275.1 million impressions, or 3.95% of overall.
Ford, with 265.6 million impressions, or 3.81% of overall.

iSpot calculates impressions of  TV ads appearing on linear, VOD and OTT platforms. Impressions are verified directly from the glass of 9 million smart TVs. Ads must be viewed from the beginning and play for at least 5 seconds to be counted.

Most Seen Industries (during the English-language broadcast)

Auto Makers were the most represented industry during the 2018 World Cup, accounting for over 16% of the total TV ad impressions generated during the tournament. In second place were TV Networks, who used this tentpole opportunity to promote their various upcoming releases. Following behind were Wireless Providers, like Verizon, who led the category,  Insurance companies, which was led by GEICO, and Online & Auction Websites, led by Wish.


Attention Winners

Bud Light, Pepsi, Google, McDonald’s and Wish all kept viewers tuned-in—20% or more than the average ad attention—with Bud Light the stand-out, achieving 50% less interruptions than the average World Cup advertiser.

Bud Light’s Early Game scored the highest among high-impression ads (ads that generated over 75 million TV ad impressions). Verizon’s End of the First Half Ad also kept viewers tuned in 45% more than average, while its ad “Huge News” was on the opposite end of the spectrum.

All of the industries below achieved greater than average attention scores, with Beer and Streaming Services both at least 45% less likely to be interrupted during ad breaks.


Top Spanish-language Advertisers for the World Cup (Copa Mundial de la FIFA 2018 Copa Mundial de la FIFA 2018)

Spanish-speaking audiences had a different set of advertisers. Sprint, which wasn’t in the top 100 for English-language games, was the top advertiser on Telemundo et al—with 9% of spending on Spanish-language games.


Additional Stats on World Cup (English-language broadcasts)